A Year in TV Guide explores the 1964-1965 television season through the pages of TV Guide magazine. Each week, I’ll examine the issue of TV Guide published exactly 50 years earlier. The intent is not simply to examine what was on television each week but rather what was being written about television.
January 30th, 1965
Vol. 13, No. 5, Issue #618
Western New England Edition
On the Cover: Inger Stevens in Sweden (photograph by Hamilton Millard).
This issue contains five articles of various lengths. One is long and dull, another is unusual but interesting, and the other three are about people I’ve never heard. The long and dull article is titled “‘Is There No Way Out of This Madness?'” and is a five-page essay by former FCC Chairman Newton N. Minow (with Lawrence Laurent) laying out his ideas for fixing television. Basically, Minow feels that the “equal-time” law spelled out in Section 315 of the Communications Act of 1934 — and amended in 1959 — is ruining television and should be thrown out. He goes over the history of equal time and its influence on the 1964 political campaign and suggests a two-prong fix:
First, Section 315 should be completely repealed. Broadcasters, both TV and radio, should be left to cover politics as they see fit. In Minow’s opinion, they will do a perfectly fine job on their own because it is in their best interest to be fair and balanced.
Second, all broadcasters will be obligated to give four hours of free airtime during prime time to each of the two major political parties in the month leading up to Election Day. Minority parties would also be given free time based either on the number or percentage of votes received in the last election, or petitions during the current election. The free air time would, Minow hopes, limit the length of campaigns. Majority parties could still buy as much time as broadcasters were willing to sell in addition to the guaranteed four hours in November.
[I don’t understand why Minow thought this would help. Without having to worry about equal time complaints, stations and networks could have sold all the time they wanted to the major parties, ignoring without fear of consequence minority parties or candidates. Minow’s dream was never realized: Section 315 is still in effect today and still confusing.]
Front Cover – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
“Dear Inger” is the unusual but interesting article. It’s unusual because it isn’t really an article or an essay but a series of letters between magazine writer Robert de Roos and actress Inger Stevens. The letters were written while Stevens — star of ABC’s sitcom The Farmer’s Daughter — was in her native Sweden filming a television special for ABC titled, not surprisingly, “Inger Stevens in Sweden.” The letters from de Roos are short and usually tongue-in-cheek. Stevens, however, has lots of interesting things to say about her return to Sweden. The hours were long, for one thing, and director Don Taylor had trouble communicating with the crew because none of them spoke English. Stevens herself apparently reverted to speaking mostly Swedish.
There were other problems, too. She was getting her hair done before heading out to the countryside when someone discovered that there was no hair drier. The hotel manager had to break into the hotel’s beauty shop to get a drier, which Stevens took with her for three days. Later, while filming with actor Max von Sydow, someone forgot to load film in a camera and Stevens had to beg Sydow to return after dinner for several more hours worth of filming. He was a good sport about it and Stevens raved about him, which de Roos didn’t like. I think I’d like to see “Inger Stevens in Sweden” because I don’t know all that much about the country and all I’ve ever seen of Stevens is one of her two appearances on The Twilight Zone (“The Hitch-Hiker”) and she was incredible in that.
“The Man with the $175,000 Smile” is a profile of Jack Lescoulie, best known for announcing NBC’s Today for 12 of its 13 years. I’ve never seen a single episode of Today, let alone any from the 1950s or 1960s, so I had no idea who he was before reading the article. Apparently there were a lot of jokes about his smile, he was friends with Jackie Gleason, and at one point he was making $175,000 a year, mostly from TV commercials.
“And Away She Went” is a very brief (just one page) look at actress Elizabeth Allen, who got her start as an “Away-We-Go” girl on The Jackie Gleason Show. Like Lescoulie, I’d never heard of her. After looking through her IMDb profile I think the only thing I’ve seen her in is an episode of The Twilight Zone (“The After Hours”).
“The Second Banana Who Knows His Place” is a two-page essay about actor Corbett Monica and how he managed to survive on The Joey Bishop Show for so long after two other actors (Joe Flynn and Guy Marks) came and went playing opposite Bishop. You guessed it, I’d never heard of Corbett Monica and I’m not familiar at all with The Joey Bishop Show. According to the article, Monica was friends with Bishop but more importantly didn’t consider himself second fiddle and was comfortable with the way things were, so there was no jealousy nor any bitterness.
The “As We See It” editorial this week is another bizarre one. It discusses the Television Information Office, said to be “broadcasters’ propaganda agency” that is charged with convincing viewers that TV is better than it really is. It usually brags about Sunday afternoon shows, special events, and the occasional documentary. It would make more sense, in the opinion of TV Guide, for the Television Information Office to declare all television worthy of watching. But that, perhaps, wouldn’t be very honest.
Cleveland Amory’s review of Candid Camera is filled with high praise. “It is fine art,” he writes, “for it not only holds the mirror up to nature in general but up to our natures in particular and in the end literally gives us Robert Burns’ gift to see ourselves as others see us.” According to Amory Candid Camera is “the television medium used to its fullest advantage” and all involved are deserving of credit. He is particularly pleased that the celebrities on the show are never the focus. Still, he raises a few notes of concern: that Allen Funt is showing too many of his “camera vignettes;” that other new innovations on the show like repeating jokes aren’t very interesting; and that Funt enjoys children’s dialog too much.
News from the Hollywood and New York TV Teletype columns:
- Universal’s sitcom pilot “The Willies” stars Gearge Gobel as the owner of a hotel haunted by the ghosts of two ancestors (Hans Conried and Kathie Browne) dead since the Revolution. [The pilot did not sell.]
- More proof that Wagon Train is ending: John McIntire has been cast in a pilot called “the Shady Acres Mob” with Spring Byington, Andrew Prine, and Jeannette Nolan (McIntire’s wife). [Wagon Train did indeed end after the 1964-1965 season but “The Shady Acres Mob” was not picked up.]
- Rawhide is returning to its roots. Co-producers Bruce Geller and Bernard Kowalski have been replaced by former producer Endre Bohem, who rehired Sheb Wooley, Rocky Shahan, and Robert Cabal.
- CBS has just finished a pilot called “The Wild West” influenced by the late Ian Fleming. Robert Conradd and Ross Martin co-star as undercover agents for the Army. [“The Wild West” became The Wild Wild West and ran on CBS from September 1965 to April 1969.]
- Another pilot called “The Long, Hot Summer” with Edmon O’Brien, has been completed by 20th Century-Fox. The drama series will be serialized but only air once a week. [The pilot was picked up and the resulting series ran for 26 episodes on ABC during the 1965-1966 season.]
- CBS will air a crossover between The Doctors and the Nurses and its new legal drama For the People. [The crossover aired in February 1965.]
- Les Crane has an irregular set of regulars: Cleveland Amory, Julius La Rosa, Marty Ingels, and Marta Curro.
- NBC will air a special called “The Best on Record” on May 13th. [The hour-long special highlighted winners of the 1964 Grammy Awards.]
There are two picture features in this issue. One showcased the various miniatures used in the production of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, including three different versions of the Seaview (one four feet long, another eight feet long, and the largest 18 feet long). The other examined women’s golf hats worn at various matches around the world during filming of Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf. One of the hats pictured was worn by Princess Grace of Monaco. There is also the regular TV crossword puzzle.
There were four news reports in the “For the Record” column in the listings section this week:
- The Presidential Inauguration was both solemn (the speeches and parade) and gay (the various Inaugural balls). The most solemn moment came right after the President took the oath when he turned to his wife and their eyes met. The high point of gaiety came at one of the balls when Arlene Dahl talked about her dress with Nancy Dickerson and explained that the large feather in her decolletage would come off as soon as she got off camera.
- Asked about Peyton Place in the pages of the Television Digest newsletter, ABC President Leonard Goldenson insisted that the network’s Standards and Practices department carefully watches the series and revealed that various parent-teacher associations had written letters stating “that this is the best form of education to the pitfalls of sex or other young folks’ problems, and they hope the show continues.” The National Congress of Parents and Teachers disagreed, however, calling the series “indistinguishable from the soap operas that inhabit the daytime air” and lamenting that Mia Farrow’s talent is being wasted on “froth and scum.”
- FCC Robert E. Lee believes a fourth network made up of UHF stations will be on the air by the end of 1965 but professes to have no inside knowledge but knows people are thinking about it and feels there is a need for another network.
- During preparations for his 500th show Lawrence Welk had this to say: “Did you know that the Lawrence Welk Orchestra is the No. 2 tourist attraction in Southern California? We’re tied with Forest Lawn Cemetery. Disneyland, of course, is first.”
The letters page was all over the place this week. There were two letters about The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (one positive, one negative), one praising Bob Hope’s Christmas special, and one suggesting Julie Newmar learn a thing or two from Bob Cummings. There were also three responding to Isaac Asimov’s tongue-in-cheek article about the robot on My Living Doll from the January 16th issue:
Re Robot AF-709 [“Why I Wouldn’t Have Done It This Way,” Jan. 16] Isaac Asimov, you can call my psychotic, but I’m glad they did it the way you wouldn’t have done it.
I do agree with Isaac on one point. Dr. McDonald should have permitted her to take off her sheet so we could see if she has a toggle switch on her tummy.
Edward Duda Jr.
If Mr. Asimov really likes the robot on page 27 better than the one on page 26, he should go see Dr. McDonald.
Lake Charles, La.
The first and third letters suggest some people didn’t understand Asimov was joking. The second letter is just a bit creepy.
Finally, there were four letters about Hullabaloo:
Hullabaloo is a misnomer. It should have been called Hullavabooboo! I’d rather watch commercials!
North Sacramento, Cal.
I nominate it for Bomb of the Year.
K. E. Elliot
The program is aimed at young people but the gyrations of Joey Heatherton would be better suited to a burlesque stage.
Mrs. William P. Hanson
It think Hullabaloo was wonderful!. It’s our [teen-agers] kind of music. if you old fogies and critics don’t like it, turn the dial please.
According to an editorial note, letters about Hullabaloo have been running about 20 to 1 against.
The TV Listings
Premiering this week on CBS on Sunday, January 30th was legal drama For the People, from Herbert Brodkin. The series is perhaps best known for starring William Shatner and for being cancelled, thereby ensuring that Shatner was free to star in Star Trek. Shatner played an assistant district attorney. A total of 13 episodes, including a crossover with The Doctors and the Nurses (mentioned in this issue’s “For the Record” column), were produced with the last airing on May 9th. The premiere received a TV Guide close-up and a half-page advertisement:
Advertisement for the Series Premiere of For the People on CBS – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
Also premiering this week was Big Three Golf on NBC, an eight-part golf tournament airing Saturdays from 5-6PM. The big three were Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player and the winner at the end of the eight matches would get $50,000. Also in sports, ABC aired the first of four “American Sportsman” specials on Sunday at 5PM. Curt Gowdy hosted the specials. This first one featured AFL commissioner Joe Foss, fishing expert Joe Brooks, fisherman Bill Carpenter, actor Robert Stack, and hunter Tony Archer. There were plenty of other sporting programs over the weekend, including bowling, basketball, surfing, bobsledding, track and field, roller derby, auto racing, horse racing, hydroplane racing, and even snake hunting (on NBC Sports in Action).
CBS aired an hour-long documentary called “The Mystery of Stonehenge” from 10-11PM on Monday, February 1st. Jane Powell hosted another installment of NBC’s The Bell Telephone Hour from 10-11PM on Tuesday, February 2nd. The first of four Alcoa Preview specials aired on ABC from 10-11PM on Thursday, February 4th with Douglas Fairbanks taking viewers behind the scenes of music (Tony Bennett recording an album), movies (the making of The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders), and the stage (Broadway’s The Roar of the Greasepaint–the Smell of the Crowd).
Here are the TV Guide close-ups for the week:
- Debut: Big Three Golf (NBC, Saturday at 5:00PM)
- Special: American Sportsman (ABC, Sunday at 5:00PM)
- Profiles in Courage – “Frederick Douglass” (NBC, Sunday at 6:30PM)
- For the People – “To Prosecute all Crimes” (CBS, Sunday at 9:00PM)
- Movie: One, Two, Three (ABC, Sunday at 9:00PM)
- The Red Skelton Hour – “Concert in Pantomime” (CBS, Tuesday at 8:30PM)
- Debut: Alcoa Preview” (ABC, Thursday at 10:00PM)
Here are some of the programs available for purchase by subscribers to Zenith Radio Company’s Phonevision pay television experiment on Connecticut’s WHCT-TV (Channel 18):
- Movie: The Condemned of Altona (Saturday at 8PM, $1.00)
- Pro Hockey: New York Rangers vs. Detroit Red Wings (Live, Sunday at 7:30PM, $1.25)
- Documentary: Gun Ho! (Monday at 7:30PM, $1.00)
- Boxing: International Heavyweight Fight, Floyd Patterson vs. George Chuvalo (Monday at 10:30PM, $2.50)
- Movie: The Outrage (Tuesday at 8:30PM, $1.25)
- Movie: For Love or Money (Thursday at 8:30PM, $1.00)
- Movie: The Third Secret (Friday at 8PM, $1.00)
The big news locally was probably the Monday, February 1st boxing match between Floyd Patterson and George Chuvalo, available for those willing to shell out $2.50 to Phonevision/WHCT-TV. Unlike the November 16th, 1964 Clay-Liston fight that Phonevision planned to carry but couldn’t after it was cancelled, this bout actually took place. Patterson won. Here’s an advertisement:
Advertisement for Patterson-Chuvalo Fight on WHCT-TV – Copyright 1965 Triangle Publications, Inc.
Otherwise, it was a pretty quiet week. Saint Joseph College was featured on WTIC-TV (Channel 3)’s From the College Campus on Sunday, January 31st at 11:30AM. That same day WHDH-TV (Channel 5) aired a half-hour public affairs report discussing the Massachusetts education system from 12-12:30PM. WWLP (Channel 22) and WRLP (Channel 32) premiered a new half-hour lecture series called Cutting Edge on Friday, February 5th at 8PM. It aired after the station’s high school quiz show Schools Match Wits and together the two pre-empted NBC’s International Showtime. Previuosly, WWLP/WRLP had aired Naked City from 8-8:30PM.
Here are the episode descriptions for Dateline Boston, a local series broadcast live and in color Monday through Friday from 6-6:25PM on WHDH-TV (Channel 5):
Monday, February 1st, 1965
Captain Bob illustrates ice skating in rural and urban areas.
Tuesday, February 2nd, 1965
Jack Woolner gives a demonstration of perch fishing through ice.
Wednesday, February 3rd, 1965
Tonight’s topic is music and painting with Prof. Robert Wells and pianist Roland Nadeau, host.
Thursday, February 4th, 1965
[No summary given.]
Friday, February 5th, 1965
Dr. Edwin P. Booth marks the centennial of the Civil War.
That’s it for this week. Hit the comments with your thoughts.